Are you currently in danger of losing your home to foreclosure? Have you had to explain to your kids why the family may be moving soon? Are you worried that foreclosure would tear apart your family? You are not alone, many people every day are facing the same problems you are. If your financial problems have put your home in jeopardy, please know that you do have options. One of those options is filing bankruptcy. When you file with the court an automatic stay is put in place that stops any legal action against you, including foreclosure. The stay will also stop creditors from calling and harassing you. So, at least temporarily, creditors cannot legally grab or garnish your wages, empty your bank account, go after your car, house or other property, or cut off your utility service or welfare benefits.
Until your bankruptcy case ends, your financial problems are in the hands of the bankruptcy court. It assumes legal control of the property you own, except your exempt property, which is yours to keep and the debts you owe as of the date you file. Nothing can be sold or paid without the court’s consent. You have control, however, with a few exceptions, of property and income you acquire after you file for bankruptcy.
It’s hard to open a newspaper or turn on the news nowadays without getting updates on the foreclosure crisis in the United States. Simply take a look at these figures from the U.S. Foreclosure Market Report: There were 2.5 million total foreclosure filings in the United States last year. Foreclosures continue to increase nationwide this year. Currently reported, more than 1 percent of U.S. households were in some stage of foreclosure this year.
While many have predicted that foreclosure totals will be even higher in the next couple of years as even more subprime mortgages are expected to reset, know that you have options. Many people are filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy as a way to stop their foreclosure by using the automatic stay from the bankruptcy code. In a Chapter 13 bankruptcy, the foreclosure process will be permanently stopped if the debtor can come up with a workable payment plan which is then approved by the Bankruptcy Trustee and creditors. The debtor must show that they will be able keep up with the current mortgage payment along with paying additional amounts to get caught up with the back payments over the next 3 to 5 years. If you can’t afford to get caught up the automatic stay will buy you the time you need to find a new place to live.
When people file for bankruptcy, they have to decide whether to reaffirm the debts or surrender the property. Most decide on using the benefit of escaping personal liability. For many debtors this outweighs the lack of credit reporting.
When deciding to keep your property, many mortgage companies and some vehicle lenders will not agree to enter into reaffirmation agreements. It is possible that the some mortgage companies handling home loans will process reaffirmation agreements. If this is the case, you should explain to the prospective mortgage lender that before the new bankruptcy code, mortgage lenders and debtors were not required to enter into reaffirmation agreements. With the absence of a reaffirmation agreement today, you probably would not be able to keep your home.